Modjeska and Silverado Canyons and the 2007 Santiago Fire


Canyon resident

Judy Meyers


OH 4152  
Narrator Judy Meyers
Interviewer Volker Janssen
Date June 21, 2008
Language English
Location Silverado Canyon, Orange County, California
Project 2007 Santiago Fire
Format(s) Audio; Video
Other Field NOtes
Abstract An oral history with Judy Meyers, a Silverado Canyon resident since 1969. This interview was conducted for the Center for Oral and Public History and Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary about the Santiago Fire in Modjeska Canyon in October 2007. The purpose of this interview was to gather information about her life prior to her move in Silverado Canyon, her experiences with disaster in the canyon, and her experiences during the Santiago fire. Specifically, this oral history discusses Judy Meyer's childhood and young adult life in Kansas in the 1940s, her father's flour mill; her work experiences in teaching, commercial art, and teaching abroad in Germany in the 1950s, her long courtship with her husband and life in Colorado in the 1960s; her husband's secret operations in electronics and aerospace; suffering the noise and density of Anaheim in 1968; moving into a hunting cabin in Silverado in September 1968; drugs, small town life, the emergence of a bedroom community, and other changes in Silverado Canyon between 1968 and 2008; downtown attitude and gentrification in the canyon; preservation through the Silverado-Modjeska (Sil-Mod Plan); the beauty of canyon isolation and preventing development; the flood of 1969; prisoners working in flood control; Orange County Rescue and United States Marine Corps helicopter rescue; the tragic fate of her rescuers in Vietnam; the relative safety of Silverado; trouble with motorcycle gangs; volunteer work and community organization in the wake of the flood; the decline of state supported brush clearance; the danger of arsonists and climate change; Santiago fire: evacuation; preparing the house for the firefighters; preparing for the worst case scenario; the role of the Inter-Canyon League; gratitude for firefighters from across the nation; the charity from canyon people and "flatlanders;" the spring floods; the conflict between canyon beauty and defensible space; the importance of personal initiative.
Video Parts 1-4 (watch online - coming soon!)
Audio Part 1 (download.mp3)
Part 2 (download.mp3)


This project is made possible, in part, by a grant from the California Council for the Humanities. The Council is an independent non-profit organization and a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information on the Council, visit www.calhum.org.